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Important that we keep momentum: Constantine

india coach keen to maintain top position in the qualifying group

Story: BASIL | SYLVESTER | 14th November 2017, 03:00 Hrs


With the Blue Tigers already having qualified for the Asian Cup after a gap of eight years and only for the fourth time in its chequered tournament history, would the Head Coach be willing to experiment at this stage would be interesting.
In a pre-match AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers press conference at Nehru Stadium on Monday, Team India Head Coach Stephen Constantine stated, "I think it is important that we continue with the momentum. We are having a great run at the moment. But it does give us an opportunity to see some young players play, but we have to wait for Tuesday to see if
that happens."
He also highlighted the importance of staying atop in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers. "We do not want to surrender the first spot. So we obviously will try to win the game," the master tactician stated.
On the Myanmar side, he conceded the opposition would be tough. "They are a very good side, well-coached and disciplined. They play a similar formation to ours. They gave us a tough time in Myanmar(1-0 win). It is a game they need some points. I do not think it will be a walk over. I expect a difficult game on Tuesday," Constantine
But given to the fact that the Asian Cup qualification done with, complacency could be deterrent to their performance on Tuesday. The India Head Coach refused to buy
this theory.
"I do not see how playing for India can de-motivate the side wherever they may play, be it in Wembley, Nehru Stadium, Fatorda or on the street outside. We have started to prepare for the Asian Cup, and the players are playing for their positions, their future. So it does not end here, it just starts a different cycle," Constantine pointed out.
Not to argue on Myanmar's Coach viewpoint that the better side lost in Yangon in March, the India gaffer put things in perspective.
"They had a lot of ball possession, had their chances and were at home. We were under pressure not having won there for 64 years. They played well but at the end of the day, we took our opportunities and they didn't," Constantine stated.
Team Captain Sunil Chhetri when asked if the attacking trident of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh and himself would be felt given that Balwant is out with injury, hoped that this would not have a repercussion on the triangle upfront. "I hope not. Balwant was doing a really good job for us. He is an asset to have in the team. Especially in the last one year he had a great season. The one who gets an opportunity in Balwant's place hopefully lives up to expectations. I just hope we do not miss Balwant," the goal-poacher said.
With India having qualified to the Asian Cup last in 2011 in Doha, how does he look at the current unit to the one he was part of eight years ago? "The squad is completely different now to what it was back then. We had a young Gurpreet then, along with Subrata Paul and myself. We are really happy to qualify, and have worked really hard. As the gaffer (Stephen Constantine) said, it is now that the preparations start. It is great for all the players to fight for their positions. That is what we are going to do, try our best to cement our places. One thing is to qualify; next thing is to keep doing well. So that in the coming AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 we are as brilliant as possible," the ace
forward stated.
Kick-off: 8 pm

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